2022: Our Year has been introduced to create a legacy for children and young people living in Manchester and to help bring UNICEF’s Child Friendly City recognition for the city.
Young Mancunians are set to benefit from new experiences, opportunities, events, and support through 2022, to help them reclaim their futures after well over a year spent in lockdown or in restricted measures due to COVID-19.
Danny Middleton, Service Development Officer for Libraries, Galleries and Culture, explains:
“As a service, Libraries are working with Stories Of Care, a writing and outreach organisation, founded by Sophie Willan, to support care-experienced young people. This year they are publishing two books in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University: their new children’s anthology, ‘Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful’, and a dazzling debut novel written by their Lead Artist Oliver Sykes called ‘Alfie’s First Fight’.
We loved ‘Alfie’s First Fight’ so much that we’ve chosen the book as ‘Our Read for Our Year’.
“As part of 2022: Our Year, we’re going to be buying 1,000 copies of ‘Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful’, and 1,000 copies of ‘Alfie’s First Fight’ to gift to targeted charities, sports venues, community groups and schools. The books will be published in May and June (respectively) this year, and Manchester Libraries will be having a book launch at Central Library on Thursday 12 May.
Danny Middleton continues: “It’s really important that children and young people who are care-experienced or come from low-income or non-traditional family units see positive role models in books they can identify with. That is why the work that Stories of Care is doing is so vital. We are excited to be working with them to get their brilliant new books into the hands of children across Manchester.
“Oliver Sykes also has a one-person stage play of ‘Alfie’s First Fight’, and he will be giving ten performances of this in Manchester libraries across the city in June and July.”
Ruth Denton, a Youth Play Participation Manager, said: “A key theme of 2022: Our Year is around health and wellbeing. We know that reading can significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, so it really is fantastic that we are able to partner with Libraries and Stories Of Care to provide books for young people.” Click here to find out more about 2022: Our Year.